Rosario’s HR lifts Mets past Phillies 7-6
PHILADELPHIA — Amed Rosario’s first major league home run was a game-winner.
Rosario’s solo homer in the ninth inning gave the New York Mets a 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. The homer capped a three-hit night for Rosario, who scored three times.
“It’s just a dream come true,” Rosario said through a translator.
Yoenis Cespedes knocked in four runs and hit a three-run homer in the win, the Mets’ second in as many nights over the Phillies.
Rosario, a touted prospect who was called up Aug. 1, lined a 2-1 fastball from Phillies closer Hector Neris (4-5) into the right field seats to break a tie. It capped a breakout game for the 21-year-old shortstop, who entered with a .161 average through his first nine games and was in a 1-for-16 slump.
“Even though I had a bad couple of days, this really helps my confidence,” said Rosario, who had just seven homers in 393 at-bats for Triple-A Las Vegas in 2017. “I try not to think too much about what happened in the past, but this really helps.”
In a game where first baseman Dominic Smith — a fellow lauded young player in the Mets organization — made his big-league debut and had his first career hit, it was Rosario who was the star.
“He’s still very aggressive. He plays great,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Rosario. “He acts like a rookie and knows his place in the clubhouse. He listens, he visits. He’s going to be good.”
The stage was set for Rosario’s heroics after Cesar Hernandez tied the score in the eighth with a solo home run off Mets reliever Jerry Blevins. It was Hernandez’s career-best seventh homer of the season.
Mets reliever Hansel Robles (7-3) got out of a jam with two on and one out after Hernandez’s homer in the eighth. AJ Ramos picked up his second save as a Met and 22nd this season, pitching a perfect ninth inning.
Cespedes provided most of New York’s offense before the late-inning drama. The slugging outfielder gave the Mets a 4-3 lead in the third inning when turned a 96 mph Nick Pivetta fastball into a 429-foot, three-run homer. It was the 150th homer of Cespedes’ career.
Michael Conforto got the Mets’ scoring started in the second inning, crushing a solo homer to center field. It was Conforto’s team-leading 25th home run and fourth in six games.
The Mets chased Pivetta in the fifth inning as both Cespedes and Neil Walker had RBI singles with two outs.
It was the third time in 68 games this season that Cespedes had at least four RBIs. The only time he had more came exactly four months earlier in the same ballpark as Cespedes had a five-RBI night with three homers against the Phillies on April 11.
Pivetta, a rookie right-hander, was charged with six runs (five earned) in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits, walked two batters and struck out four as his ERA climbed to 6.09.
“It’s always command,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said regarding Pivetta’s problems. “He didn’t command his fastball. He didn’t have good command of his breaking balls. He made mistakes out over the plate and was behind a lot.”
The Phillies gave Pivetta immediate support, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Nick Williams and Tommy Joseph both had RBI singles in the inning. Joseph added another RBI with a double in the third inning.
Philadelphia ended up scoring five runs off Mets starter Seth Lugo, who allowed eight hits and walked four in 5 1/3 innings. Lugo needed 81 pitches to get through the first three innings but settled down a bit to get into the sixth. He had a career-best eight strikeouts.
“For how many pitches I threw for the first few innings, it was positive to be able to pitch into the sixth,” Lugo said. “For me tonight, the biggest thing was trying to do too much with two strikes. But I settled down after the third.”
The Mets now have eight wins in 11 tries against the Phillies in 2017. They are 5-0 so far this season at Citizens Bank Park.
“We just have trouble with this team, and we just can’t seem to outdo them,” Mackanin said.
NOTES: Mets 1B Dominic Smith made his major league debut. He went 1-for-3 and singled in the fourth inning for his first major league hit. He was pulled out of the game in the sixth inning as part of a double switch. ... The Mets have hit 17 homers in five games at Citizens Bank Park in 2017. ...The Phillies are 16-29 in one-run games this season.